E-Commerce Global Tech

Alibaba, Baidu’s Li Mount High-Stakes U.S. Forays

about_alibaba_logo1

Two of China’s biggest Internet names are making interesting new moves into the tough U.S. market, with word that Alibaba has launched an American e-commerce website and Baidu founder Robin Li is helming a major new Hollywood animation studio. Both moves look cautious but relatively well conceived, even though each carries a degree of risk due to intense competition in the U.S. e-commerce and animation sectors. Still, I have to admire both companies for at least trying, even if their chances of success could be around 50-50.   More

Government

Obama: From Bottom-Up Candidate to Top-Down President

Like so many of us, California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom was inspired by Barack Obama's Internet-driven 2008 Presidential campaign. Indeed, Newsom was so inspired by a campaign run by "35,000 self-organizing communities" that he wrote a book called "Citizenville," which sees all change as beginning from the bottom up. But Newsom has fallen out of love with Barack Obama. As he told me at our latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, the "bottom-up candidate" has turned into the "top-down President." Obama isn't the Internet President, Newsom insists. By transitioning from change.gov to whitehouse.gov, he's let his Internet base down.   More

Business

Surround Computing Is About to Change Our Lives

(Image via Shutterstock)

Computing is in upheaval. After 40 years of microprocessor improvement, an even more fundamental advance is underway, with enormous implications for how we will live. We are uniting traditional central processing units (CPUs), the "brains" of computers, with graphics processing units (GPUs) to enable much easier information processing with faster performance and better energy efficiency. In fact, the changes in computing chip architecture underway today may be the most significant since the 1970s. We need this advance. More data will be created in the next three years than in all of human history.   More

Techonomy Events

The Conference Paradox: In-Person Matters When You Live on the Edge

Gathering for meals at conferences like Techonomy 2013 can foster spontaneous exchanges of ideas.

Technology has advanced so much that we can now buy ice cream, deposit checks, chat with friends, find and apply for jobs, and share pictures of cats—all from our phones. We have Skype. We have social networking. And more people than ever are making use of virtual social platforms to connect and stay connected with others, educate themselves, learn skills, conduct meetings, and do business. And yet participants flock to noteworthy hotspots like Aspen, La Jolla, and San Francisco for thousands of conferences, roundtables, tradeshows, and exhibitions. Why do we still need physical presence if it's an increasingly virtual world?   More

Business

What Satya Nadella Told Me Before He Got the Job

(Photo: LeWeb Paris 2013)

Back in early November, right around the time his name started appearing on the short list of candidates to become Microsoft's CEO, I had lunch with Satya Nadella in New York. It was eye-opening for a number of reasons, most of them positive for Microsoft. I left convinced that this guy would be a great choice for the job. His comments carry considerably more meaning now that he really is the new CEO.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Prosthetic Bionics Give Danish Amputee the Power of Touch

(Photo: École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) / YouTube)

New bionic technology is making it possible for amputees to feel again. It’s a scientific breakthrough, and Dennis Aabo Sørenson became the first in the world to experience it when he took a chance on a clinical trial that ended up paying off—big-time. Sørenson, from Denmark, had lost his left hand in a fireworks accident nine years earlier, when he decided to take part in the 2013 trial. The study’s groundbreaking technology connected surgically implanted electrodes to a bionic prosthetic hand, and after nearly a decade of living without touch sensory, Sørenson could feel again.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Southeast Asia E-Commerce Surge Boosts Region

image - Southeast Asia digital landscape - e-commerce

E-commerce companies moved hard into Southeast Asia in 2013. Armed with innovative strategies and lots of funding, global giants and local startups raced to promote online retailing in a region where brick-and-mortar stores still dominate. Their efforts will bring more than just convenience to tens of millions of net-enabled consumers. They’ll also boost living conditions and create opportunities for a new generation of ambitious entrepreneurs.   More

Cities Learning

How Remixing Has Helped Revive Pittsburgh

TransformED, a digital playground for teachers at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. (Image via The Sprout Fund)

The Rust Belt story you’ve probably heard tells how the cities and towns that once formed the engine of 20th century growth have been left in the dust by the global economy. The decline of domestic manufacturing, mass migrations, and economic stagnation may appear to have paralyzed this once prosperous land of opportunity. But in my hometown of Pittsburgh, we’re seeing communities reinvent themselves from the ground up—increasing opportunities for civic engagement and improving quality of life. It's starting with the education of our youngest citizens. At the same time, digital technology is giving people powerful new access to tools and resources, creating whole high-tech cottage industries.   More

Security & Privacy

Could Privacy Become a New Form of Currency?

It's becoming increasingly clear that the latest digital technology is killing privacy. As Robert Scoble said at our latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, the future will be dominated by surveillance technologies like sensors, wearable computing, and location data. So, I asked California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom what, exactly, does the end of privacy mean from the perspective of a politician? Newsom was refreshingly blunt. "We never had it," he replied. "So it's like welcome to my world."   More

Business

Four Reasons Facebook Became a Colossus

00f1d8c

The first time I met Mark Zuckerberg I told him he seemed like a natural CEO. He acted offended. "I never wanted to run a company," he said bluntly. Then he added, perfunctorily, "A business is a good vehicle for getting stuff done." But that was September 2006. Facebook was just two-and-a-half years old. He impressed me so much I went back and wrote a column for Fortune, where I worked, entitled Why Facebook Matters. Now the company is ten. (It launched February 4, 2004.) Zuckerberg is 29, not 22. He is no longer embarrassed to be a businessman. By a lucky coincidence of timing, Facebook's quarterly results announced just last Wednesday were spectacular. As the company hits this historic landmark, its financial foundation is provably rock-solid.   More

Government

Can the Internet Make Politics More Collaborative?

So what is politics? Is it something we do once every couple of years—electing politicians who then are supposed to do stuff for us? Or is it a collaborative space, what the ancient Greeks called a "polis," where citizens go to improve their community? According to California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, we need to change our politics from what he calls a "referendum process" to something more collaborative. More polis, less petition, Newsom says. And that's where the Internet comes in.   More

E-Commerce

Could Mobile Banking Apps Help You Spend Less?

Simple is one of several apps that help users track what they spend on items like food and dining.

With the holiday season behind us, you might be among the many Americans looking at their checking and credit card statements wondering just where their money went in December, or possibly even all of 2013. If so, 2014 may be when new apps help you get control of your finances. Several simple new tools leverage social media and mobile technologies to help manage your money and spending. Moven, Simple, and GoBank give users who have FDIC-insured, bank-backed debit cards links to mobile apps that provide services including expense categorization and spending alerts, as well as tools for budgeting, saving, and transfering money.   More

Security & Privacy

Report: Internet Is Faster, More Susceptible to Attack

(Image via Shutterstock)

Internet speeds around the world are up, but so are cyber-attacks, says Akamai in its latest “State of the Internet” report. Released quarterly by the Massachusetts-based content delivery network Akamai Technologies, the report analyzes global statistics on key indicators of Internet connectivity. Findings from 2013’s third quarter disclosed some good news, showing upward trends in both global connection speeds and broadband adoption rates, but also warned of long-term growth in attack traffic—a majority of it coming from China, Indonesia, and the United States.   More

Business Learning Security & Privacy

This Week’s Techonomic 5

A still from "Koyaanisqatsi."

Welcome to the first installment of our Techonomic 5, a brand-new series spotlighting techonomic happenings from around the Web and beyond. Every two weeks, our editorial team shares its picks of the top people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech's ever-growing role in business and society. Here's what's grabbing our attention: tech curriculums, Canadian data security, apps for mindfulness, the rise of Netflix, and Kayaanisquatsi director Godfrey Reggio.   More

Learning Startup Culture

Education Experts Say College Becoming Like a Startup

(Image via Shutterstock)

A global survey of leaders in education arrived at six five-year predictions. But they didn't just say social media will burgeon as a tool, along with "blended learning," in which online and offline methods converge. The leaders surveyed by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative also think college will become more like a startup, literally. Methods that replicate the atmosphere of startups will emerge on campus. And the influence of the maker movement will lead to actually producing things as a way to learn. Also likely to become more important: data-driven learning and assessment, as well as just plain more online learning.   More

Government Security & Privacy

Investigate NSA to Avert Police State, Privacy Consultant Warns

(Image via Shutterstock)

Cyber-security expert Jody Westby calls “for the facts to be found out and the truth to be determined” about the NSA surveillance program in order for the nation’s leaders to make “informed decisions about how this country should be operating and the values it should be upholding in the digital age—before it turns into a full police state.” Under the headline, "It Is a Scandal That No One is Investigating the NSA," Westby, who is CEO of Global Cyber Risk, a fellow at the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, and adjunct professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a frequent Techonomy participant, proclaims in a Forbes essay this week that she is stunned that no one but she has called for a full investigation.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Tesla Supercharges Cross-Country Treks

Searching for a fun vacation idea this spring break that’s pretty darned cool and eco-friendly to boot? You could take a cue from Elon Musk, who’s spending his spring break driving cross-country with his kids in his Tesla Model S, going from Los Angeles to New York and stopping along the way at Tesla’s newly unveiled Supercharger stations to recharge. The Supercharger network, announced Sunday, is a string of more than 70 ultra-fast, free-to-use charging stations that span much of both coasts, stretch from Los Angeles to New York via the upper Midwest, and shoot off into eastern Texas.   More

Analytics & Data Partner Insights

How Do Consumers Want to Be Persuaded?

(Image via Shutterstock)

Persuasion has been a cornerstone of education and business since ancient Egypt. Through the centuries, those who skillfully brought audiences to their own position were seen as wise scholars and merchants. Usually, they were well rewarded. But global access to the Internet has created a virtual landscape where persuasion is open-sourced and citizens and consumers are overloaded with information.   More

Startup Culture

Don’t Worry, Be a Happy Entrepreneur

Bobby McFerrin, the original evangelist of the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" gospel. (Image via Shutterstock)

In terms of satisfaction with their work lives, entrepreneurs are some of the happiest people on the planet, according to a report put out last week by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. The finding was a part of GEM's 2013 Global Report, which examined the special topic of Entrepreneurship and Well-Being.   More

Business

Indiegogo Raises Serious Money

Indiegogo's Danae Ringelmann (center) at Techonomy 2012 with TechShop's Mark Hatch (l) and David ten Have of Ponoko.

Popular crowdfunding platform Indiegogo unveiled plans today to continue its international expansion after announcing a successful Series-B round that raised $40 million in funding. The round was led by Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with existing investors Insight Venture Partners, MHS Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, and ff Venture Capital also making contributions. Indiegogo enables people from around the globe to launch their own creative and cause-driven campaigns, promoting bottom-up initiatives and democratizing the funding process.   More